I picked up my K1600 GT on Wednesday and trailered it home. Today (Saturday, May 28) was the first chance I had to actually ride it. I traded in an ’07 R1200 RT – a truly wonderful bike – so I couldn’t help but compare. The weather this weekend was forecast to be crummy, but I was anxious to ride.
First problem: I had wheeled the bike into the garage. To get it out, I could lean on the rear rack of the RT to lift the front wheel off the ground and then turn the bike with both wheels up and only the center stand on the smooth garage floor. I tried that with the K16 but couldn’t get the front wheel to lift.
Second problem: It was 40?? with a light rain falling. Since I have to go higher to get anywhere, I checked the road reports and weather radar. The road reports looked good, but the radar showed rain/snow mix. I set the traction control on “rain” and off I went.
The bike is probably the most solid one I’ve ever had. I find it hard to move when I’m standing next to it, but riding it even at walking speeds it is surprisingly stable, solid, and tractable. Every BMW I’ve had has been a boxer, so this one definitely sounds different. The riding position is very much like the RT. I can flat-foot it on the low seat setting (standard seat), which I couldn’t do on the RT unless it was fully loaded. And if you want a little more power, it gives it. You want a lot more, it has that too. It is a very easy bike to ride.
It rained most of the 35 miles or so across the flat Laramie Plains. I climbed up a thousand feet or so. The temperature dropped to 32, with snow:
And down into North Park in Colorado. The weather was definitely better, even though it was still in the low forties. The only problem I had now was keeping my speed down. This is a mileage-eater.
The pavement was still damp, but at least it wasn’t raining. I had lunch in Walden. A mess of motorcyclists came in. I asked them about the weather farther south – better. I stopped at a gas station where a couple of Gold Wing couples were filling up. They’d come from the east across Cameron Pass (10,276 feet). They said the road was great and there wasn’t any falling snow, so I headed up toward the pass.
The road was dry the whole way except where melt was crossing the road. I put the traction control on ‘road’ and could feel the difference. Temperatures stayed in the forties. This is the best shot of the top, despite my glove being in the way:
Down the east side the snow soon cleared and the temperatures rose to around 50 with some occasional drizzle. This is a lovely road but can be crowded. The GT has plenty of oomph to pass quickly. A couple of times it almost left me behind when it took off. This bike sure loves the curves. It’s more competent than I am. It keeps its poise even when I back off the throttle in mid-curve – no wobble or hesitation, just smooth execution. I put the traction control on ‘dynamic’ and hung on.
I headed home. The relatively straight road up over the summit to Laramie always seems really tame after Poudre Canyon. I put only a little more than 200 miles on the bike, but the cold and the layers of clothing wore me out. I may do the same loop tomorrow, but the other direction. The weather is supposed to be the same.
I think the seat and handgrips are harder than on the RT. I found the side-stand a bit awkward, but I’ll get used to it. (It hides under the foot peg.) It’ll take me longer to get used to the awful turn signal switch. It is the standard design instead of the wonderful BMW style. And my other complaint is that there is no usable fairing pocket. The right one will fit an iPod. The left one won’t fit an Anonymous book. The only thing I’ve found so far that’ll fit is a small roll of toilet paper for roadside emergencies.
Still, it is a fantastic motorcycle. My RT was wonderful because it just did everything well. The GT may do everything even better. I can’t wait to take it on a long trip.